Michelle Spencer is a 500-Hour qualified yoga teacher, based in Greater London, who is married with two children. In addition to teaching her regular yoga classes and private clients, Michelle also runs Menopause Yoga workshops and has delivered menopause workshops to local NHS staff.
Michelle trained with Petra in Menopause Yoga in February 2020 and has since worked closely with Petra on the Menopause Yoga Teacher Training course as the teachers' Assistant. In October 2021, Michelle will be contribute to the course content as a guest speaker delivering a talk on how to make Menopause Accessible to Everybody and Every Body.
This is Michelle's personal story:
"I was abruptly thrown into Perimenopause when I was 45. I ended up in A&E thinking that I was haemorrhaging- only for the male doctor to say to me “It’s what all women go through” before discharging me with some tablets.
"I had no clue what he was talking about. I lost my mother before my fortieth birthday, so I did not have anyone at the time that I felt I could talk to. There was no way I was going to speak to my Mother-in-Law. I proceeded to take out every book in the library on the topic of menopause, anatomy and women’s health and began my own research into the topic. I was shocked! All these symptoms I had been experiencing throughout my forties and visiting my GP for were actually perimenopause symptoms: heart palpitations, brittle nails, stress, irritability, increased cholesterol count, fatigue, depression, and now heavy bleeding.
"I began offering yoga for menopause workshops to small groups. I then met my now-mentor and partner Petra Coveney. She had founded and developed a yoga teacher training course specifically aimed at educating women about the menopause. Her Menopause Yoga Teacher Training course is accredited by the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance Professionals. Thanks to the Menopause Yoga Teacher Training, I was able to improve my offering through a greater understanding of ayurveda’s influence, and introduction to self-reflection, and inclusion of breathwork specific to menopausal symptoms.
"Shortly after finishing the course, the UK went into lockdown, and everyone moved to online learning. Petra brought me on as her assistant at this point. I had previously volunteered as an assistant on one of Petra's Menopause Yoga workshop at Triyoga studio, in London, and we found that our personalities complemented each other. I was a secondary school teacher in my previous career so my knowledge of Education has been helpful.
"I love meeting all the women from around the world who take this specialised course. I’ve come to call them a “Sisterhood of Menowarriors”. I love running Menopause Yoga workshops as well, especially when women realise that they aren’t alone. I have met so many wonderful women on my journey. By sharing our experiences, I have learned how to manage some of my own symptoms.
"The teacher training is unique as it creates an on-going network of women to keep coming back to for support. I have whole-heartedly embraced this transition in my life rather than dread the ageing process. I have discovered a new circle of women that I call sisters whom I can lean on when needed, and in turn support when they need it. No other course that I have come across looks to support and promote its students in the way that this teacher training course does. For example, many of the students on the course still feel a bit nervous about using social media, and the course has provided a free CPD for these same students to access and learn how to promote themselves.
"In addition, Menopause Yoga Teacher Training offers all the graduates the opportunity to be part of a global directory where women from anywhere in the world can look to see who offers yoga classes for women going through the menopause in their area.
"I really feel that my menopause has been an opportunity and being part of the Menopause Yoga course has changed my life."